A card deck with cards from 1 to 21 of the same suit is used. Also, there is a joker that can take a value of zero or 22 (chosen by the player).
The game consists of a series of hands. The first hand is played with 4 to 7 cards dealt to each player, depending on the number of players:
- 3 players, 7 cards each;
- 4 players, 5 cards each;
- 5 players, 4 cards each.
Each successive hand is played with one card fewer, down to a hand of just one card each. In that round, each player only sees the opponent’s cards. Then, the next round starts with the initial number of cards each again.
The object is for each player to bid the number of tricks he thinks he can take from each hand. The total number of tricks bid by the players may not equal the number of tricks available on that hand.
The bidding in each hand begins with the player to the left of the dealer, then continues clockwise, back around to the dealer, who bids last. Each bid is a number representing the number of tricks that player will try to take. Everyone must bid - it is not possible to pass, but you can bid zero, in which case your objective is to take no tricks at all.
Remember: the dealer may not bid the number that would cause the total number of tricks bid to equal the number of tricks available; a hand will always be "over-bid" or "under-bid".
The play begins with the player to the dealer's left, who leads the first card, and follows clockwise. The player who has played the highest card wins the trick. That player then leads to the next trick. Continue until all tricks have been played and won.
The difference between the bidding and the actual number of tricks won is subtracted from your score (points are deducted for each missed trick). The game ends when a player reaches zero points.